#TransformationTuesday Part 2: The Worst Thing I Could Have Done for My Health

Hello, hello! As promised, here we are again a week later, back for part two of my #TransformationTuesday series. (See part 1 here.)

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And so starts my journey into sophomore year. I spent the summer prior finding balance again after a crazy freshman year. I honestly needed that summer to reset. I found my fitness again too: I ran my first half marathon, and started Crossfit! I felt far more sane.

That fall I felt in a better place. I was +15 from freshman year, but I felt more comfortable in my skin and was far fitter than the end of freshman year. That fall, I ate ALL THE PUMPKIN. It’s actually ridiculous.

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I actually didn’t eat much in the dining hall then either, because we had norovirus strike, and I wanted no part of that.

At the same time, I was crazy stressed with school. That was by fall the hardest and most demoralizing time of my life, and I was drowning. I took far too hard a quarter, and definitely doubted whether I should even be here. Food was not the first thing on my mind. I actually remember being so stressed I had to force feed myself raisins because I knew I needed SOMETHING.

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Despite the academic stress, I did feel more secure in who I was than freshman year, and who my friends were. This helped immensely.

During this time, I was still wrestling with good/bad foods. I wanted to try to restrict sugar, but that often made me crazy, going between no sugar/lots of sugar. In general, sugar does affect how I feel physically a lot. IMG_4632 IMG_4888

(This pumpkin bread was amazing and I ate the whole loaf post-half marathon when the runger was real. No regrets about that. Necessary.)

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Summary: fall, I was eating better and feeling better.

After the holidays, like anyone, I was feeling a little heavier and gross. I felt my eating habits were slipping.

And then I embarked on a healthy living journey that turned out to be the worst possible thing I could do for my health.

The Project.

In theory, it seemed like a fantastic plan for my health. I embarked on 4 weeks of no processed food, including processed sugars (dates were allowed, but that was it). I am still a big proponent of a whole foods, low sugar diet. And the time I was on the project did transform my health. My physical health, that is. I did honestly feel great. But at the same time, it made me an anxious mess.

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I was in a constant state of restriction. I started to get really bad anxiety, like nothing I have felt in my life. After the first week, I cheated and had some dessert (not a crazy amount, mind you). That evening into the next morning, I was insanely anxious, so much so that I had to call in sick to leading quidditch conditioning because I needed a run to burn off some of the energy, and that was the only thing that made me feel better.

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Found my love for roasted carrots. <3

Finally, 3 weeks into the challenge I couldn’t do it anymore, and when a delicious ice cream sandwich was presented to me, I gave up.

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And then the next months became a sugar bender. That extreme restriction had made me a mess (theme of sophomore year, I suppose), and feeling gross while watching my body transform made it even worse. In a few short months, I was almost +15 from the end of The Project.

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Once again, I lost my control and my balance. When I arrived in DC that summer, I was +25 from pre-college.

One key thing I want to talk about here is what went wrong, and what’s different now. Then, when I was feeling a little unhealthy, I would immediately try to slash food and sweets, and it usually backfired. Even if I was “doing well,” I still felt like I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and the cycle to start over again.

Now, things are different. The last time I was feeling a little gross, a little puffy, I made the conscious decision not to revert to old habits and cut things out. Instead, I decided to focus on adding things in: making an intentional effort to eat more fruits and veggies. And that approach made all the difference. Sometimes I hear people talk about cutting out sugar for x period of time, and honestly, I can’t listen to it anymore. I have to walk away. That was so much my tendency for so long, and it would be so easy to slip into these habits. But where I am now, I’m happy and healthy without doing that. I want to keep doing what I’m doing, and not let other influence this lifestyle I’ve built for myself. I know if I let myself get back into that cycle, it would be all bad again.

Also, I know with this series I’m being sort of vague about what’s changed, but that will be at the end of the series! I promise it’s nothing drastic though. Mainly a shift in mindset!